White Sands was AMAZING! The only thing was that you have to get there early if you want to experience back country camping there! We ended up having to stay in town for a night and going early the next morning to get a spot! We hiked in to the closest designated zone since we weren't overly optimistic about how far the kids would make it! The trail is well marked and the camping area is well away from all the touristy areas so its extremely peaceful and the scenery is gorgeous! We had bought a sled from the gift shop ( dune sledding is HUGE) so the kids sledded and looked for the amphibians they learned about at the guest services station on the way in. TIP: the desert gets EXTREMELY windy at night!!! There was NO stepping out for a pee or enjoying he night stars! Dave and I slept as far into the edges of the tent as possible just to keep it from blowing away 1And yes...it WAS pegged in!!! The wind blew so hard that the tent was basically folded onto me like a blanket for most of the night. Morning was still very chilly but not windy. Thank GOODNESS! PS. It is totally true that the desert is scorching through the day and really really cold at night!!!
The next day, I took the jeep into a local repair shop as we had done a bit of damage to a U joint and Dave and the kids hit the local space station which they say was GREAT. The town didn't seem to be very tourist geared considering how close it was to the White Sands, but it was explained to me that because of all the military bases in the desert it was more of an army town. Aside from the Space Station there really wasn't much going on in the town. Too bad!